We often find the unexpected flavors of both sweet and savory in foods such as Hawaiian Coconut Chicken, and it pleasantly surprises us. And it's equally as pleasantly surprising to find family and connection in places where we never considered we would, as well.
For those of you who follow our blog, you most likely know that the big “story”, the big change in our lives, is our young son, our only child, leaving the nest to go to boot camp (3 months!) to become a United States Marine.
And though my husband and I are extremely proud parents, we're also adjusting to life as empty-nesters, and to a home that is now entirely too quiet and drama-free.
What do we do?!
This whole process has been an incredibly interesting, amazing, and eye-opening experience for us; not only are we learning new things about ourselves as individuals, and about an organization—the Marine Corps—that we had previously known very little about, but learning about the beauty and love that can be found in other people who we've never met—in strangers—that we've gotten to know rather intimately along the way on this journey so far.
Just as it is deliciously amazing to find unexpected flavors in the food that we eat—a subtle sweetness, a golden crunchiness, and a scrumptious savoriness such as is found in a bite of this Hawaiian Coconut Chicken with fresh Pineapple Salsa, it is so very wonderful for the soul to experience bonding in unexpected places and in unexpected ways.
It's so very refreshing and invigorating for the human spirit!
Though I've never been much of a user of Facebook for reasons other than connecting with readers and followers of The Cozy Apron, I've recently become a part of an amazing group of parents that are going through the exact thing as my husband and I are, at the exact same time, because of the fact that all of our sons are joining the Marine Corps.
All of our boys are in the same company, and will be graduating boot camp at the same time!
So because we're going through this process together, and most of us for the first time, we have been sharing all kinds of stories with each other, all kinds of information (some quite personal), and have been forming this amazingly special bond where love and kindness—unity—abounds.
And what an amazingly divine thing to experience!
We each have in common this extraordinary thing called a “broken heart”, but in a good way, because each of our children will no longer be our children in the way that they had previously been.
We're also linked together because of our love for our sons, whom we miss so terribly much, and will always be worried and concerned over in that uniquely intense way from this moment forward.
And I've found that the urgency of “life and death” is something that'll bond a group of people together right fast.
I can honestly say that I've found “family” in these precious people, unexpected family, one where I could easily express my sorrow, sadness, fear, anxiety, love, joy, peace, humor—all of it—and have it reciprocated back to me, full of equal emotion and desire to connect.
When human beings are hungry to bond over something, when we reach out to one another over our similarities by supporting one another and uplifting one another, then that's the perfect recipe for unexpected family.
See, we are capable of it.
And we do best when we're smack-dab in the midst of participating in it.
So I just thought it'd be a nice thing to mull over, this thing called “unexpected family”, and to see where else I can possibly experience it as well.
There's no shortage of love and care to go around, though we may fear that there is.
But when we chose to open our hearts and to allow it to flow, allow it to find and highlight those things that we do have in common with each other, then we quickly find that there is no shortage whatsoever; that, to our surprise, there is, in fact, incredible abundance.
And my hope is that we have the chance to taste that and to revel in it frequently and with gusto.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Hawaiian Coconut Chicken with Fresh Pineapple Salsa
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
• 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise to create 4 thinned cutlets
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon granulated onion
• ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon curry powder
• ¼ cup pineapple juice
• 2 tablespoons honey
• ¾ cup all-purpose flour
• 2 eggs, whisked
• 2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
• Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
• Fresh Pineapple Salsa (recipe below)
-Add the 4 chicken breast cutlets into a bowl, and add in all of the ingredients beginning with the salt up to and including the honey; toss to coat the chicken well, and allow the chicken to marinate for about 30 minutes, or even overnight.
-Once the chicken has marinated, allow any excess marinade to drip off, and dredge each breast first in the flour, then in the whisked eggs, then in the shredded coconut; repeat until all pieces are dredged.
-Heat enough of the vegetable oil in a large skillet to cover the bottom and come up about an inch or so, enough for shallow frying; once the oil is hot, add in the coated chicken breasts (work in batches if necessary), and fry them for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden and crispy, and cooked through; sprinkle with a little extra salt and pepper while still hot, and drain on a wire rack; repeat until all are fried.
-Serve the chicken with the fresh Pineapple Relish.
Fresh Pineapple Salsa Ingredients:
• ½ pound trimmed and cored fresh pineapple (I bought a 1lb. pre-cut package and used half), finely diced
• ½ small, red bell pepper, finely diced
• 2 teaspoons honey
• ½ teaspoon lime juice
• 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro leaves
-Place all ingredients into a small bowl, and combine; use immediately, or cover and keep in fridge until ready to use.